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rangifer’s diary: pt. cxi

Yuletide

It’s the holiday season, y’all. Well, not any more. It’s— MapleLegends is having its Maplemas–Versalmas event! But probably not anymore, by the time that you’re reading this.

In any case, this is a lot better than last year’s Christmas event, which was… There was none. So…

This event is great, even though it started out with a series of firm disappointments: there’s no Magical Mitten (the most festive of claws that lack class requirements!); my poor I/L archmagelet cervine didn’t get the Christmas NX equips back to reconstitute her One True Outfit™ (see the “Slimeuntitled portrait of cervine” section of pt. xc of this diary), even after well over a year of desperately hoping that they would return; & so on…

Decorating the tree

But at least we have conifers to lavishly decorate. For this event’s “community event”, the challenge is to creatively decorate any of the many large trees in Happyville with dropped items, take a screenshot of it, & accompany the screenshot with a short description. Only the best trees will win, & they will win big!! There’re some valuable currencies to win, blah blah blah, I don’t care. I just want the chair with a deer on it. My god, is it beautiful. I don’t even particularly like chairs, but if I don’t win this one, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. It might not be possible to “win” MapleStory, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t possible to lose MapleStory by not getting this heartbreakingly gorgeous chair.

But I’ve never even done a community event before! And now my life chair depends on it?? Well, luckily for me, I was clued in on the existence of this event by Lvl1Crook (Level1Crook, xXCrookXx), who had an idea: a 🍄🎄mushroom tree🎄🍄! I rounded up all of my stupid items that I hoard like a maniac — at least, the ones that were mushroom-themed — & joined Lvl1Crook, Taima (Yunchang, Tacgnol, Boymoder, Girlmoder), & LawdHeComin (AppleBasket, OrangeFungus, Mushers, Snel) in tree decoration festivities!:

Mushroom Tree (feat. Lvl1Crook, tarandus, Taima, & LawdHeComin)

It was a lot of fun!! Plus, it let me finally put my insane hoarding problem to good use…

And for the short description, Taima came up with a great poem!!:[1]

On a cold winter’s night, in MapleStory,
mushrooms slept in their mycelium, safe and cozy.
But surprises stirred from the white snow flurry,
when the mushrooms all sprouted from the Maplemas tree!

So, you know. We have mushrooms, we have mushroom trees, & we even have mushroom poetry, all for a community event in a mushroom game. We’re basically unbeatable.

Ḥanukkuests & Christmastasks

As far as the actual event event content goes, we’ve got plenty of that, as well. Including some of my favourite game content of all: kwests!!

These quests are covered in the “Santa Claus’s favourite R. tarandus” section below. But as a sneak peek, you’ll never guess what a certain chocolate coinage had me doing… actually pressing An Attack Button™ on my STRong SE mule bowmaster capreolina?!?:

capre farming Gelt Chocolate quest ETC items @ Ghost Cave 3

Snow Spirit & the friendly snowman

And there are not only questy quests, but also quests of the party variety. Like some past events, this event incentivises ordinary PQs (OPQ, LPQ, KPQ, etc.) by allowing them to participate in the event’s rewards: Christmas Presents (cosmetic points, usable only for cosmetics) & Christmas Raffle Tickets (which are exactly what they sound like).

But there are two PQs unique to this event, as well. One of them is Snow Spirit PQ, or Protect Snowman PQ, or whatever you want to call it. It’s the PQ where you protect the snowman, get a few rewards, & maybe the occasional raffle ticket. It looks a little like this:

Snow Spirit PQ

The idea is simple: monsters come in waves, spawning into the four corners of the map, & moving towards the centre where the friendly snowman is. To protect the friendly snowman, you attack the monsters to drive them back & eventually slay them. The only attack capable of doing this is Jolly Snow Grenade, an event-exclusive 0th-grade skill that’s basically the snowy version of the axe-throwing skill from the Retro World event[2].

This PQ is frequently compared to HPQ, as it’s conceptually similar to HPQ’s 2nd stage. Also worth mentioning is ENPQ.

Unlike HPQ & ENPQ, however, this PQ culminates in a boss fight:

Snow Spirit PQ’s boss fight

That’s pretty much it. Just a big dumb green dude that you throw snowballs at. Its most powerful mode of retaliation is randomly Sealing one or two PCs for like… a second or two (& you can’t use ACPs/Dispel/etc.)

Maybe it doesn’t sound that exciting, but believe me, it’s definitely possible to fail this PQ. The friendly snowman really does need that protection, so if some monsters slip past your party, it doesn’t bode well…

A failure mode of Snow Spirit PQ

That being said, the real reasons why this PQ can be failed are:

The abominable snowman

Not all snowmen are friendly, however.

The reader may be aware that, in the process of Christianising the Germanic peoples, the Germanic winter festival Yule was syncretised with Christmas. As a result, Yule /jul/ — & its cognates in other Germanic languages, e.g. Icelandic jól /jo͜uːl/, Swedish jul /jʉːl/, etc. — are now commonly used to refer to Christmas.

But what could possibly be more Germanic than a giant nigh-invincible monster that destroys happiness? That’s right. It’s time for the real Yule shit: the most formidable snowman boss of bosses, so difficult that it has often been favourably compared to Pink Bean in terms of sheer difficulty.

It’s impossible

Harlez: been running it nonstop for hours / its impossible

For the first day or so of the event, the Snowman Boss PQ — a.k.a. Roodolph PQ — was widely suspected to be impossible — or at least, practically impossible — to defeat, even by the sweatiest of gaymers on my buddylist. Worse, the way that Snowman Boss runs failed was by its participants biting the dust, & there were no rewards for dying before the Snowman had snowed his last snow.

The result is that, in this first incarnation, the Snowman Boss PQ was something of a mystery that couldn’t possibly be part of the event for well over >99% of the server’s population. For that 1% of the 1%, the Snowman Boss was a matter of heroism — proving that the tyrannical beast could, in fact, be overcome.

But what’s the big deal? It’s just a dumb snowman that you lob snowballs at with the Jolly Snow Grenade skill. Well, the basic premise is very similar to that of the Demon King’s Tower of the Retro World event[2]: instead of lobbing axes, we lob snowballs; instead of starting with three lives (3 HP) represented by pixelated ❤️s above our heads, we start with three lives represented by red Santa hats above our heads. This implies that we’re each very fragile indeed: taking just three sources of damage is enough to eliminate you from the PQ run entirely.

But the Snowman Boss has something like “three lives” as well: three bodies. Each body takes very many snowballs to defeat, & defeating one spawns the next in its place. Here’s what body 1 looks like:

Snowman Boss, first body

This body is rather smol, & only has the ability to throw single snowballs. It aggros someone, winds up its little snowball toss, & lets loose a snowball that travels in a straight line, damaging anyone in its path.

The second body is larger, & has a larger attack. When it attacks, anyone within a certain horizontal distance of the Snowman Boss takes damage. When the attack is about to hit, there are little animated markers on the ground that display its extent:

Snowman Boss, second body attack markers

It’s a little more difficult to see in a still image, but even in-game, these markers are a bit subtle. They’re white, just like the snowy stuff around them, so it helps to be vigilant & to already have an idea of roughly how wide its attack is.

The attack itself looks like this:

Snowman Boss, second body attack

Basically just a bunch of fat snowballs raining from the sky.

If you manage to slay both bodies 1 & 2 without joining the choir invisible (a nontrivial accomplishment in itself), then you’ve earned the distinct privilege of dying anyway. That’s because the third & final body will kill you dead. The third body might be quite a bit bigger than the first two, but it’s also infinitely meaner.

In this screenshot, you can see me fighting body 3 solo (everyone else died already), just as the Snowman Boss is healing itself & casting its falling snowball attack:

Snowman Boss, third body

The falling snowball attack is comparable to PB main body’s falling G-clef attack: instead of stone eighth notes marking the places where the G-clefs fall, twirling bluish-white snowflakes mark the places where the fat snowballs fall. Oh, and these snowballs don’t seduce you. 😅 Also note that the Snowman Boss is healing itself for 1 200 HP, which is 100 snowballs’ worth of damage.

The eagle-eyed viewer may have noticed that the Roodolph NPC covers up everything that it overlaps with. This is a serious issue, as it tends to obscure snowflake markers, & thus make it unclear where snowballs are going to fall. In any case, falling snowballs are generally dodged either by walking away (left or right), or — if the snowballs happen to be targeted at the top of the wooden fence, rather than the floor of the map — ducking under them. This latter method is what makes it more like PB’s G-clef attack than like Zakum’s flaming pillar attack.

But the third body has plenty more ways of thwarting any attempts at defeating it. Its other attack is its jumping attack, which is kinda like King Slime’s jumping attack, but bigger. It’s not quite map-wide in its range, but it gets fairly close. If you’re not in the air when it lands, you not only take damage, but get super-knockbacked, which is often a good way to take even more damage.

Body 3’s two main attacks — falling snowball & super-jump — combine quite unfavourably (or, if you’re the Snowman Boss, favourably) with its non-attack abilities. Not only can it heal itself, but it also likes to summon lots of shitty fly guys who fly around to sabotage your entire party. Taking touch damage from these Stirges, Flyeyes, & flying Jr. Wraiths[7] hurts just as much as anything else, & they each take 2, 4, & 6 snowballs to kill, respectively!

Now, the above clip is from pretty early on, so I’m not doing very well here. Still, with the ability of these fly guys to swoop down at a moment’s notice, as well as to effectively assail your (& any part of your party’s) position, you can perhaps imagine how this interacts with the “it’s time to jump now” attack & the “it’s time to get the fuck out the way” attack. The result is that the summoned monsters are actually top priority; although we ultimately have to kill the Snowman Boss itself, we want to first maximise DPS against summons, so that we might keep the map generally as free of summoned monster presence as possible.

Nonetheless, summons cannot always be attacked immediately, & so they become something of a persistent menace. This is problematic when, for example, using the intra-map teleporters, and/or trying to negotiate passage between the top & bottom regions of the map. Or when they just fucking swoop down at you…

Wait, what? Top & bottom regions of the map? Well, remember how I said that body 2’s attack hits everyone within a certain horizontal range of the Snowman Boss? Well, it actually has only a limited vertical range, as well. By climbing up far above the boss, PCs have access to various breakable chests that drop group heals. Looting a group heal heals everyone (who isn’t already at 3 HP) in the party for 1 HP. There are also single heals (healing only the PC who loots them) in the chests that spawn in the bottom-left & bottom-right corners of the map.

Of course, the chests take a while to respawn, & breaking them is a dangerous job indeed. “Healers” tend to die rather quickly, as their job is inherently dangerous, acting as a kind of sacrifice for their party. Up at the top of the map, healers still have to deal with some of the Snowman Boss’s attacks, as well as the summons, as well as the snowballs thrown by body-1-lookalikes that aren’t actually monsters (they cannot move, & do not have hitboxes).

There’s one other major ability that body 3 possesses that I’ve yet to mention. To see how it factors into the body 3 fight, we can divide the fight up into phases based on roughly four HP thresholds: when body 3 is at or below a given HP threshold, it’s capable of using any of the abilities associated with that threshold, along with those associated with any higher thresholds as well.

  1. 100% HP:
    • Super-jump.
    • Falling snowball.
  2. High HP:
    • Summon Stirges/Flyeyes.
    • Small self-heal.
  3. Medium HP:
    • Summon flying Jr. Wraiths/Flyeyes/Stirges.
    • Large self-heal.
  4. Low HP:
    • Confusion.

Oh, dear. Confusion? You mean the thing where your controls are reversed, & you have to down-jump to jump, etc.? Yes. That kind of Confusion.

…Or is it?

Eventually, one party somehow actually managed to slay the beast!! This PQ keeps a leaderboard of the top ten fastest times, so the result was a leaderboard with a #1 time, followed by… nine blank spots. The leaderboard stayed like this for a surprisingly long time. It was enough to communicate to any prospective Snowman Bossers that it was actually possible, & that if they replicated that success themselves, then they would guarantee a spot on the leaderboard for at least some time.

My Snowman Bossing journey began with, of course, failed attempts. Alongside OmokTeacher (Slime, Thinks, JumpQuest, Slimu, Slimusaurus), & even some folx whom I recognised from my experience speedrunning DKT[2], I managed to make it all the way to phase (3.) — that is, “wraiths” — a number of times, but never to actually clear, nor even to see Confusion.

Then, I was invited to do “stall runs” by misandrist (xRook). Although it seemed at first like defeating body 3 was the only way to get rewards from this PQ, as it turns out, Roodolph PQ actually has three tiers of success: ≤60% HP, ≤30% HP, & actually killing the thing. But the only way to get either of the former two tiers (the inferior two tiers) was to run out of time whilst body 3 was past the relevant threshold. Because the timer starts by counting down from ten minutes, this means that successfully claiming an inferior tier practically requires “stalling” for the first ≈5〜6 minutes of the fight. By keeping body 1 alive, this is as easy as AFKing in a safe spot. Then, after stalling for sufficiently long — but not so long that you haven’t enough time remaining to get body 3 to ≤60% HP — you actually do the fight.

Even claiming the ≤60% tier is still challenging, & requires some considerable competence of most or all of your party of six. Of course, one other problem is that you’re AFK half the time, & the solution to that is to either chill tf out (which is what I did), or to run two parties of six PCs each, with each of six players controlling one PC in each party, staggering the two parties’ runs so that the AFK bit of one run is the actually-fighting bit of the other. My god, that is quite a bit of sweat.

In any case, I did have some successful stall runs — & some unsuccessful ones… — like, for example, this first reward that I ever got from Roodolph PQ:

My first successful stall run

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: The Snowman managed to escape… Talk with Roodolph to claim your reward.
You have gained mesos (+500000)
You have gained a Christmas Raffle Ticket. [1 total]

Although the primary reward (in this case, 500k mesos LOL) gets better with better tiers, all tiers guaranteed a single Christmas Raffle Ticket, so sweaty duo-client stall runs were probably pretty decent value for your time. The raffle doesn’t have many good things in it, but you know… raffle.

Then, one day, I checked the leaderboard to find that now, there was not just one entry, but a full ten entries! This was no small amount of cultivated skill, as basically all top ten times were put up there by the same six players, with various permutations of their various PCs’ IGNs. Some people had cracked the code, & now the Snowman Boss PQ was a tiny industry of skilled stall runners & extremely-skilled clearers.

I can clear Snowman Boss PQ, too!!

Then, after getting recruited into a party of pro experts by pro expert Danger (Naught, Hampy, Peruggia, Bonnot, Jennings, Worley), I… actually managed to clear the fuccing Snowman Boss?!?!?

Woah! Look at those big orange letters that say “CLEAR”!! That’s crazy. Being only my first clear, our time was not exactly impressive, at , but still!!

Later on with that same party, we were able to improve that to :

You defeated the Snowman! Talk with Roodolph to claim your prize. / Time taken: [05:23.430]

I also did two or three clears with OmokTeacher, where I improved my best time to :

Clearing the Snowman Boss with OmokTeacher

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: You defeated the Snowman! Talk with Roodolph to claim your prize.
Time taken: []

OmokTeacher: GJ

knok: !!!!!!!!!!

…And I think that my best clear time prior to Roodolph PQ getting patched was :

04:49.924 pre-patch clear time

The patchening

Then, after I’d done probably over a dozen clears, we found out that Roodolph PQ was about to get patched. It was, after all, manifestly broken in many ways, & the new version of the PQ would fix a lot of that, in addition to making the PQ easy enough that it was actually, you know, reasonable to clear without a full party of six 31337 runners. The materially important changes were:

Although this new version is clearly “easier”, it’s perhaps more notable that it actually gives rewards. No need to stall out the timer, and no need to always clear & then talk to the NPC before you die to a fly guy anyway — it just works.

Post-patch

The new version was now much more clearable, & also faster to clear on account of the considerably reduced healing. I managed to improve my best time by quite a bit…:

My best Snowman Boss clear time (post-patch)… for now…

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: You defeated the Snowman! You will be warped out shortly.
Time taken: []

Now it was time to get quick or get the kick!! Naught challenged us to do @dpm 2 tests on body 3…:

Toxic DPM time

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: Defeat the Snowman!

Naught: ok toxic dpm time
body 3 @dpm 2
if u low u get cut

xiaoyaozm: gg

dwoonie: you’re cut danger

Naught: lf> toxic dpm mention in deer’s maple diary ^__^

tarandus: hahya [sic]

(Don’t worry, no one actually got kicked…)

I did try a handful of @dpm 2 tests myself, although I gave up doing them because it was frustrating to type mid-combat. Here’s the best one that I recorded:

tarandus, Snowman Boss third body, @dpm 2 test

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: tarandus — Lv.159 Buccaneer — Total Damage: 5,033
Damage Per Hour: 150,960 — Damage Per Minute: 2,516

So, 2.5k DPM is not all that great; Naught was able to record upwards of 3.1k or even 3.2k, & speedrunning professional Flurri (SecretIy) was getting dangerously close to a legendary 3.3k!! I don’t know how they do it. LOL

In any event, the result of this sneaky little patch was that I ran a lot of Snowman Boss PQ, & got a lot of clears. I started to realise that I was, perhaps, doing too much Roodolph PQ, when my brain began to rot, & my raffle ticket count climbed rapidly into the triple digits…:

Too many Snowmen…

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: You have gained an item (Large Holiday Surprise Box)
You have gained a Christmas Raffle Ticket. [100 total]
You have gained 30 Christmas Presents. [3981 total]

Oh, and did I mention that the Snowman Boss’s bodies give EXP? Well, the third body used to give EXP, pre-patch, but now only the first two do. In any case, the real purpose of this is just so that you can get an idea of how much damage you’re contributing, & so you can see when you white[8]. But if you’re a particularly low-level character, the EXP ain’t half bad…

IGN Roodolph levels up in Roodolph PQ

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: ⟨Party⟩ Roodolph has reached Lv.16.

AIaei: ???????????????

miIet: pog

tarandus: \grats

But wait — there’s more! With Naught, SecretIy, RoodoIph (Roodolph), O0OO000OO0OO[9] (leetoratto, beegoratto), & Avshalom, I ran with a party that was clearing at ⚠️dangerous speeds⚠️!!:

Now we’re speedrunning…

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: Time taken: []
Time taken: []
Time taken: []

Oh my lord. ‽‽‽ That’s enough to get on the leaderboard!!!:

I got #4 on the leaderboard!!!!

Transcription of the above image

⌛ Our top 10 fastest Snowman Boss runners! ⏳


🥇 MU20,Minethrower,Nephis,SecretIy,dwoonie,xPippy

[]


🥈 Avshalom,Flurri,MU20,Nephis,dwoonie,xPippy

[]


🥉 FueI,Lvl1Crook,Slumber,akiwi,dwoonie,xPippy

[]


4. Avshalom,Naught,O0OO000OO0OO,RoodoIph,SecretIy,tarandus

[]


5. Flurri,MU20,Minethrower,Nephis,dwoonie,xPippy

[]

YEET @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Am I a real gamer now??? Please say “yes”…

What I learnt

Speaking of gaming, I want to collect here a few of the things that I learnt about snowgaming. I won’t include everything, but if you’re curious about some of the details of the Snowman Boss fight, then this section is for you.

When attacking the boss itself, the most basic positions to be are either along the floor of the map, or on the wooden fence that sits about a PC’s height above much — but not all — of the length of that floor. However, during the first two bodies especially, it can be helpful to attack from atop higher shelves. During first body, someone can maintain the aggro of the Snowman Boss whilst everyone else attacks freely from a spot unaffected by where the boss is throwing snowballs. In the second body fight, attacking from up high is even more important, as it allows your snowballs to travel further without you having to get horizontally closer to the boss & thus to being hit by its attacks.

Here’s the shelf on the right-hand side of the map:

Shelf on the right-hand side of the map

In the above image, I’ve used a purplish colour to highlight the vague position of the FHs that make up this shelf structure. The nice thing about this shelf is that, unless you’re at the very top (the top of the squarish bit with the Yeti face carved into it), you can still see the markers for body 2’s attacks, making it relatively easy to nearly continuously attack without getting hit.

Also in the above image, we can see SecretIy attacking from the wooden fence instead. She’s a pro speedrunner & so was on aggro duty for the first two bodies. By having a strong intuition for exactly where body 2’s attacks stop short, & for when they actually hit, she can move very minimally whilst attacking this body from near the floor.

However, if the Snowman Boss decides to be particularly dastardly, & cowers in the far left of the map, this isn’t going to work; moreover, if the Snowman Boss gets too close to the shelf, there will be no way to dodge its attacks without leaving the shelf, & our snowballs will probably go over its head anyway.

We do have more shelves, though. On the left-hand side of the map, there’s a Christmas tree with confusing FHs that I tried my best to highlight in the image below:

Christmas tree on the left-hand side of the map

For the most part, the FHs follow the multicoloured lights draped along the tree, but it’s a bit hard to tell in this image, because I have my graphics quality set to minimum.

Unfortunately, the most useful position — which you see us making use of in the above image — cannot see the attack markers of body 2. Still, there are one or two useful attacking positions on this tree.

Still on the left-hand side of the map, we can actually go even further up. By jumping from the tippy top of the tree to the platform next to it (which is much more difficult than it looks…), we get to this bit of the upper region of the map:

The tippy-toppiest shelf from which to attack the Snowman Boss

Believe it or not, body 2 (& body 3, for that matter…) can be hit from here, albeit only in some positions. You can see that our snowballs arc over the platform, just barely missing its edge, & then landing on the Snowman Boss’s head.

You can also get some idea of what the upper region of the map looks like from the above image. Those shiny chests have party heals in them, & that Snowman in the top-left corner that looks like body 1 is ready to start hurling snowballs at anyone brave enough to go up there.

In any case, here are some other things that I learnt, organised as advice to a prospective Snowman Bosser:

General stuff
Body 1
Body 2
Body 3
General body 3 stuff
Summons
Super-jump attacks
Falling snowball attacks
Confusion
Speedrunning

Holiday spoils

Of course, this event has a raffle. The event-exclusive PQs also give special rewards like Magical Coin Pouches 1 (the Yuletide version of MCP1 that gives 1〜4 pCoins instead of 1〜3), Rare Gachapon Tickets, & Small/Medium/Large Holiday Surprise Boxes, which give a random 60%/70%/30% scroll (respectively) when opened.

I’m not going to be recording all of my spoils this time, because I cannot possibly be arsed, & I don’t think anyone really wants the statistics anyway. I won’t be using all of my stupid raffles until the end of the event though, so I’ll give a summary of a few highlights (if there are any LOOL) in the next diary entry.

Miscellaneous thoughts on event-exclusive PQs (“A festive retrospective”)

Hard & easy

This event comes with two PQs of its own: Snow Spirit PQ (protecc PQ) & Roodolph PQ (attacc PQ). The basic spread of these two PQs is very similar to that of the Retro World anniversary event[2]: both PQs are almost entirely ignorant of the PCs’ attributes (level, equipment, stats, class, skills, etc.), thus making the PQs equally accessible to all level ≥10 PCs; at the same time, the two PQs are not equally accessible to the players controlling those PCs: they are virtually distinguished as “the easy PQ” & “the hard PQ”.

In principle, I guess I kinda like that there are two PQs (as opposed to just one), although I think that the exact choice of dichotomy is perhaps questionable. The actual result is that the “easy PQ” is boringly tedious, & people quickly flee from it as they realise that:

On the other hand, the “hard” PQ sucks up anyone interested in event-exclusive content, because it is actually difficult, & thus requires considerable time investment. But the rewards are proportionately favourable, so the event-players are left with nothing other than to grind the “hard” PQ.

This dichotomy has a favourite child: the hard PQ. The easy PQ is only there to appease the many who do not have the skills required by the hard PQ, & is therefore not a genuine element of the event. Comparing the Retro World[2], Hallowe’en 2023[3], & Maplemas–Versalmas 2023–2024 events, we have:

Retro World: Retro Reach PQ (a.k.a. Axe Spam PQ; easy) vs. Demon King’s Tower (hard)

RRPQ was effectively worthless. I actually did quite a bit of RRPQ myself, but that was only because I really wanted those raffles for my Viclockers, & I had no clue how to do DKT at that point. In reality, RRPQ was definitely not fun, & not particularly rewarding, either. It was later tweaked to at least guarantee some level of decent reward, but of course this was utterly crushed by anyone reasonably competent at DKT.

DKT, on the other hand, was definitely difficult, & it was a long time of banging my head against it before some folx like Danger, Lvl1Crook, & especially OmokTeacher helped me get the hang of it. I even did some speedrunning, & it was a lot of fun to be able to play a genuinely multiplayer JQ with some elements of combat!

Hallowe’en 2023: Butler PQ (easy & hard)

This event hints at how MapleLegends’s current style of seasonal event can be pulled off without this weirdly asymmetrical dichotomy. Butler PQ is by no means trivial, & every one of its stages demands some considerable skill on the part of at least one of the players — &, especially in the case of the third stage, all of the players.

Of course, Butler PQ has its own glaring fatal flaw (viz. its bonus stage), along with a number of other less-than-absolutely-fatal flaws (e.g. its pitifully short length in terms of both duration & variety of stages, etc.). But it’s worth noticing how Butler PQ manages to avoid this dichotomy entirely, simply by… being more like ordinary PQs in MapleStory! But without the part where character level, stats, skills, etc. matter.

Maplemas–Versalmas 2023–2024: Snow Spirit PQ (easy) vs. Roodolph PQ (hard)

Snow Spirit PQ is shockingly closely analogous to RRPQ, to the point that we can safely refer to it as “Snowball Spam PQ” by analogy. A clear light was shone on Snow Spirit PQ’s failure by the fact that Roodolph PQ was effectively impossible to get rewards from before it was (after a while) patched, & yet Snow Spirit PQ still never became popular.

strawberryi: i love that opq gives raffles too / the christmas pq sucks

On the other hand, Roodolph PQ is analogous to DKT in that it’s very difficult, still genuinely multiplayer (benefiting greatly from larger parties), a lot of fun if you can get the hang of it, & intensely rewarding (post-patch) under those same conditions — not to mention that the entirety of Roodolph PQ is conceptually based on the 20th floor of DKT (the boss fight with the Demon King himself).

Thus, I merely want to suggest that this supposèd dichotomy can — at the very least — be pronged into a trichotomy with one relatively useless arm: the “easy PQ” (not so useful), the “hard PQ”, & the “classical PQ”. I’ve often thought that high-level (in MapleLegends’s sense) PQs that mirror classic PQs are more than possible, even to the point that — if one so desired — a level 140+ (just as an example) version of, say, LPQ is more than doable with a little creativity. If this is true, & if Butler PQ — or even SGQ, for that matter — can be taken as an example of this kind of classical PQ structure that largely removes the PC-specific elements, then event-exclusive classical PQs can be done well.

Moreover, this is not to take away from “hard (event-exclusive) PQs” at all! I have had an absolute blast with both DKT & Roodolph PQ, and it is truly special to be able to enjoy that kind of multiplayer content with the same people whom I know from MapleStory, but who might not necessarily have PCs at roughly the same levels as mine at all times.

L’été

The reader may have noticed that the summer event[4] is conspicuously missing from the above list. The summer event had Hinamatsuri and BRPQ, both of which I personally got considerable enjoyment out of. However, both of them are inherently difficult to enjoy with friends: Hinamatsuri is fully single-player, & BRPQ is necessarily — by its design — heavily stratified by PC level (& other PC-specific attributes, for that matter).

The result is that Hinamatsuri is somewhere between “sheer pain” & “no way I’m even attempting that shit” for those who haven’t already invested a lot of time into their JQing skills, & don’t have someone (OmokTeacher) to give them endless advice & encouragement. It’s also totally single-player for anyone who doesn’t have the latter.

BRPQ is skewed towards higher-level PCs, who not only get disproportionately larger rewards from disproportionately way less effort & resources, but also have an easier time finding functional parties to run the PQ with. Even for a fit & high-level PC, the BRPQ landscape can still be dire if they don’t manage to get there before everyone else has already capped out their time-gated attempts.

Participation in the neverending treadmill

Now, the reader might know me as someone who has a bit of distaste for MapleLegends-style seasonal events:

  1. They’re almost always seriously overpowered, & can easily displace more traditional year-round parts of MapleStory that are — in my opinion — more important.
  2. They often focus on fundamentally broken game mechanics like temporary equipment (purely cosmetic, or otherwise), token “dailies” that exist largely as an artificial ploy to get players to log on, etc.
  3. They exist as a kind of years-long treadmill upon which much of the game’s playerbase now seems to be dependent — very nearly in the medical sense — from Christmastide, to CNY, to Valentine’s Day, to anniversary, to summer, to Hallowe’en, to Thanksgiving[5], and all the way back to Christmastide again & again… And those are just the events traditional in GMS, not to mention that much of MapleLegends’s population is more familiar with EMS, KMS, MapleSEA, etc.! The result being that, of course, when there’s no seasonal event active, we hear only “event wen?” & the silence left by those who were just here for that past event.
  4. To justify their existence, & because of their overpowered design, the player is pressured to participate in said events; & yet, the notion of “really participating” may only serve to drag the player away from actual MapleStory.
  5. And after all this, they — more often than not — fail to deliver on the lasting goodies that we actually need events for — like mfing claws!! And cosmetics!!!

But events can be — & as I’ve observed very many times now, often are — fun anyway.

Retro whirled away

I don’t need to touch any further upon (1.), (2.), nor (3.), but it’s worth at least taking a look at (4.). As fun as DKT may’ve been, Retro World fell into this trap real hard. Retro World was all about those raffles, & if you wanted raffles, DKT was your only sane choice, RRPQ your only insane choice, & both were exclusive to Retro World itself (not to even mention P. Diddy, also exclusive to Retro World…). There were also the coins for buying potions, & those were quickly farmed up to the cap in the pond-skipping JQ — also exclusive to Retro World.

All Hallows’ Eve steps up to the plate

Hallowe’en 2023 did a better job: although Butler PQ was the only good source of eventstuffs for many PCs…

And it went even further by simply making the Haunted House quests (not to be confused with the Haunted Mansion quests) year-round quests! Very nice!!

The result, for me personally, was that I only really felt the need to spam Butler PQ on my Viclockers for its exclusive rewards, plus the nearly one hundred(!!) raffles that I needed to pull a Worn Halloween Badge on these Victoria-locked characters incapable of both bossing & ordinary-PQing. Oh, and to a lesser extent, on two of my other characters (rusa & axisaxis[6]) who were similarly starved for bosses/PQs & really wanted a 0-slot Zombie Army Ring

Χmas

In the narrow sense that I’m using here, the “easy” PQ suffers from having no identity, purpose, nor fun outside of being… “the easy PQ”. Although the Maplemas–Versalmas 2023–2024 event certainly suffers from this problem, in my thoroughly useless opinion, it’s also perhaps MapleLegends’s best attempt at its own brand of seasonal events yet.

Of course, there are still considerable issues, like how raffles are distributed: pre-patch Roodolph PQ gave nearly(!) zero rewards, and post-patch Roodolph PQ puts every other method of generating event currency to utter shame. There’s also something of an issue for our more casual players (read: me, any time more than a year or so ago lol) who want to participate in event-exclusive or raffle-generating content with other players, as they’re basically stuck with Snow Spirit PQ (unless in level range for ordinary PQs). Ouf.

Honestly

My opinion might be worthless, & it’s also true that any remaining MapleLegends staff members who actually work on the game’s implementation should probably focus what efforts they do have on less transient elements of the game!

But if we are going to have an indefinitely lengthy treadmill experience of weeks-long event after weeks-long event, then I hope that we stay on this track. Even if events need to be nearly wholesale copy-&-pasted from their previous incarnations, it would be nice to ensure that they at least invite participation of all & every kind (even including the gamer-y PQ stuff!), whilst simultaneously giving the rest of the game (“MapleStory”) some room to breathe. 😌

Footnotes for “Yuletide”

  1. [↑] I just couldn’t resist picking this little poem apart.

    Starting with the metre, I first noticed that the syllable count of the lines, in order, is: ⟨11, 13, 11, 13⟩.

    Most poetry uses the same kind of foot repeatedly, for any given line. For instance, a lot of English verse uses iambic pentameter, which is exactly what it sounds like: each line is just five iambs. However, both 11 & 13 are large (read: ≥5) primes, which means that none of the lines in this poem can be broken up evenly into feet.

    This makes it a bit difficult to read (for me, at least), although this kind of “odd” metre — analogous to odd time signatures in music — is not unheard of even in English. For example, the (はい)() (⟨haiku⟩; /hä.i.kɯ̟ᵝ/) form has long since been adapted into English, particularly for its pattern of three lines having ⟨5, 7, 5⟩ syllables (in Japanese: morae, not syllables).

    Of course, poetry need not even have a metre at all. Still, when I put some effort into scanning Taima’s poem, I did come up with something of interest (here, / marks an ictic syllable, and × marks a nonictic syllable):

    ×  ×  /    ×  ×     /     ×   /  ×  / ×
    On a cold winter’s night, in MapleStory,
     /   ×      /   ×    /    × / ××    /   ×    / ×
    mushrooms slept in their mycelium, safe and cozy.
     ×   ×   / ×    ×       /    ×   /     ×    /  ×
    But surprises stirred from the white snow flurry,
      ×    ×  /   ×    ×      /  ×    /    ×  /  × ×    /
    when the mushrooms all sprouted from the Maplemas tree!
    

    If we get rid of the words, & consider just the metre, we have:

    ××/××/×/×/×
    /×/×/×/××/×/×
    ××/××/×/×/×
    ××/××/×/×/××/
    

    You can probably already see that there’s something a little funky going on with line 2. Here’s the same metre, gathered into feet:

    line syllable
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    1 ××/ (anapæst) ××/ (anapæst) ×/ (iamb) ×/× (amphibrach)
    2 /× (trochee) /× (trochee) /× (trochee) /×× (dactyl) /× (trochee) /× (trochee)
    3 ××/ (anapæst) ××/ (anapæst) ×/ (iamb) ×/× (amphibrach)
    4 ×/ (iamb)

    You might think that line 2 was written in error, considering that there’s no way to make it conform to the metre of the other lines in any meaningful way. But really, Taima admitted to shoehorning in the word mycelium. 😛 And who can blame her‽ It’s a fantastic word!!

    Ignoring line 2, I think that this is a really creative metre! I mentioned haiku as another example of odd metre in poetry, but haiku — in English, at least — doesn’t generally have a stress pattern (I think…?), & so the “metre” is just how many syllables are in each line. Here, the metre is odd, but it also has a genuine rhythm to it, with strong vs. weak beats, making each line start out “slowly”, get faster, & then — in the 13-syllable lines — slow down again at the end.

    But we can’t forget the rhyme, another common element of a decent amount of poetry. In this case, the scheme is simple: AAAA. Every line ends with /-i/, although the rhymes are not perfect. Instead, these rhymes are syllabic, meaning that the rime of the final syllable of each of the words is identical, regardless of where the stress lies. Also, because the /-i/ is unstressed & word-final in the first three lines, but stressed in the fourth & final line, the rhyme-y-ness of the final line depends on how happy-tensed the reader’s accent is.

  2. [↑] See the “In which MapleLegends is swallowed up by an arcade cabinet” section of pt. cv of this diary, & the “In which MapleLegends is digested within the rumen of the arcade cabinet… & spit back up” section of pt. cvi.

  3. [↑] See the “All Hallows’ Eve” & “Ever still to haunt my house” sections of pt. cix of this diary.

  4. [↑] See the “Welcome to fishing hell” section of pt. cviii of this diary.

  5. [↑] See the “Gobble gobble, motherfuckers” section of the previous entry in this diary.

  6. [↑] Who is, of course, not actually my character… (I would never break kayfabe……)

  7. [↑] Yes, the names of these monsters are indeed CristamsStirge (lmfao), CristmasFlyeye, & CristmasJr.Wraith, respectively. Incredible.

  8. [↑] Whiting just means getting a white-coloured EXP line, meaning that you dealt a plurality (a.k.a. relative majority) of the damage that the monster took over its lifetime. With multiple parties, it’s a little more complicated than that, but this is Roodolph PQ, so there’s only one party anyway.

  9. [↑] Wow. What a name.

[Mufflered screaming]

This event isn’t much for Viclockers, because 75% of the Snowflake Pendant questline requires leaving Vic, & getting the Jolly Snow Grenade skill does as well[1].

Still, I did make sure to farm up 16 Gelt Chocolates for my Vicloc dagger spearwoman d34r (see the “Santa Claus’s favourite R. tarandus” section below), & in the process, I got a small handful (hoofful…?) of Christmas Raffle Tickets at þͤ olde TfoG.

So — I swear on god, I could not possibly make this shit up — I turned in one (1) raffle. Literally one. And got this shit:

d34r’s Warm Muffler

Transcription of the item in the above image

d34r’s

Warm Muffler

  • Req lev: 30
  • Category: pendant
  • STR: +3
  • DEX: +3
  • INT: +3
  • LUK: +3
  • Weapon def.: 15
  • Magic def.: 16
  • Number of upgrades available: 3

What the fucc?!?!? Back in the “Islandry” section of pt. cix of this diary, ur girl d34r just about lost her got dam mind spamming the everloving fucc out of those Butler PQs in search of just one (1) Worn Halloween Badge. And ended up with a crappy below-average one. Now you mean to tell me that my first Christmas raffle is not just a tradeable version, but one with straight-up perfect allstat???

Welp, looks like my neck is gonna be nice & toasty year-round now…

Footnotes for “[Mufflered screaming]”

  1. [↑] We could make a bespoke exception for this event, given that the “leaving Vic” part involves nothing other than talking to Alcaster one time. But like, what the hell? El Nath is the last blasted focking place that I want any of my Viclockers to set foot in, & I’m the only person who plays Vicloc — so there! Plus, I feel like I would be letting whoever designed this dumb ass quest “win” by VIP Teleport Rocking to El Nath & back just to complete it.

Tacgnol × AppleBasket

Well, ’tis the season to be jolly. And what could be more jolly than a wedding between two odd mages? On one of my own odd mages, I/L archmagelet cervine, I had the immense honour of attending the wedding of F/P archgishlet Tacgnol (Taima, Yunchang, Boymoder, Girlmoder) & bishlet[1] AppleBasket (LawdHeComin, OrangeFungus, Snel, Mushers, TauntEnjoyer)!:

Tacgnol’s vows

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

AppleBasket: everyone ready for speedrun?

Tacgnol: this priest high rn

cervine: no speedrunning@@@

AppleBasket: lool

cervine: unless it’s vow%

Lvl1Crook: boooo

cervine: vows%

AppleBasket: rip

Qubert: vow%

AppleBasket: what should i do then f3

Tacgnol: lets see

Lvl1Crook: SPEECH

cervine: @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Tacgnol: youve watched us play many a maple character
and us (me) give up on many a maple character (this one)

cervine: LOL

AppleBasket: *unspecified honking noises

Lvl1Crook: lol

Tacgnol: im here to say

Qubert: haha

Lvl1Crook: banishment this char

Tacgnol: ill try and use this character [sometimes] maybe
for exploding umm

cervine: pog

AppleBasket: yay my tax benefits

Harlez: jason thats pretty explicit for a cathedral jeez

Tacgnol: monke i guess?

cervine: lool

Tacgnol: I vow to
continue never being online when Jason wants to grind

AppleBasket: sounds accurate

cervine: awww <3

Lvl1Crook: too wholesome i cant

Tacgnol: and to eat a lot of pizza this year.

cervine: im shedding a tear rn

Lvl1Crook: FR

AppleBasket: i also will eat those pizza

Tacgnol: and watch anime! lots of it!!

Lvl1Crook: YES

Tacgnol: omg a meteor shower

Harlez: >:D

Tacgnol: our love is

AppleBasket: i will not get to 163 because im lazy

Lvl1Crook: so pretty

Tacgnol: piercing the heavens

cervine: wowowowow

Lvl1Crook: its a christmas [miracle]

Tacgnol: focken epic

(Yes, I gave up on Christmas cosmetics & just completely redid cervine’s look…)

That is so sweet. But we need to hear AppleBasket’s vows too:

AppleBasket’s vows

Transcription of the above image

cervine: ok let’s hear jason’s speech
@@@@@

AppleBasket: idk i didnt bring one like

Lvl1Crook: JASON SPEECH @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

AppleBasket: oddjob is more better than regular
pls make odd bishops
R>

cervine: too real

Tacgnol: TRUE

Jonathan: oddjob1 for pinkbean run

Lvl1Crook: they are less stinky than [F/P]

AppleBasket: uhh i managed to get to bishop without fot

cervine: !!

Tacgnol: rember [sic] to only use staves. wands are lame.

AppleBasket: wands are ok on bishops f3

Qubert: stave gang

Tacgnol: staff can bonk fastly

AppleBasket: staff is ultimate mage bonk

Brings a tear to my eye. And a WOW AAAAHH to the floor:

WOW AAAAHH

It really was the perfect wedding, except that we did miss out on just one important ingredient…:

Kissless‽

Transcription of the above image

cervine: did yall kiss on the altar

AppleBasket: nah

cervine:

Jonathan: .

cervine: thats like the one required part

Lvl1Crook: jason did but you cant see it under the mask

AppleBasket: its only for tax benefits

Harlez: quit sniffing the nun’s ass

cervine: lmfao
ok but in the next stage i better see that mask off
i wanna see those kissy lips

Lvl1Crook: OMG

AppleBasket: impossible

cervine: @@@@@@@@@@@@

Lvl1Crook: we need to see jasons face

Jonathan: @@@@@@@@@@@@

Lvl1Crook: i wanna see

AppleBasket: must retain fashion at all times

Well, I guess we do have to respect the fashion.

In any case, we eventually got to the wedding cake, onto which I put the “frost”ing by Blizzarding:

The wedding cake (Tacgnol: Stank you all for crumbing)

And at the end, both Tacgnol & AppleBasket got chairs from their Onyx Chests!!:

Tacgnol × AppleBasket in matching yellow & red wedding chairs

Wundaful. 💞

Footnotes for “Tacgnol × AppleBasket”

  1. [↑] Actually not quite a magelet, but a kind of experimental hybrid with some base INT.

The ascensi0n of d00r

Welc0me back t0 the grindventures & Heal-j0urnals of d00r, starring y0ur host, d00r the clericlet.

Much like in the previous episode (the “A world t00r with d00r” section of the previous entry in this diary), I did some grinding at FoDTIII, where I hit level 69 😎:

d00r hits level 68, & then 69~! (Nice!)

I then got together with woodsman OrangeFungus (AppleBasket, LawdHeComin, Snel, Mushers, TauntEnjoyer) to do some GS2 duo grinding:

OrangeFungus & d00r duoing GS2

Now, we didn’t have HS, & actually, OrangeFungus is only level 52(!) in this image (11 levels below the Slimys), but we made it work. I did an @epm test or two, & seemed to nevertheless be getting slightly more EPM than I would when solo! And I’m not sure how much OrangeFungus was getting, but it must have been pretty good for his level, as he chowed down on two Onyx Apples.

Later, I came back to GS2 by my lonesome, & ground that last bit of EXP to get to the big level 70~!!:

d00r hits the big level 70!!!

Woah!! This is the first time that my level has been a central binomial coefficient since level 20, & it can never be one ever again (the next one is 252)! That’s crazy.

Well, also, I can take my 3rd job advancement. That’s pretty crazy, too. So I hit up my girl Robeira at the Chief’s Residence in Annaṭḥ:

d00r speaks with Robeira

A masterful mage and an absolute fashion icon. Where in the Cash Shop can I buy the cute hood that cloaks your eyes in shadow?

She told me to go see Grendel about my little “job advancement” problem, so I did just that:

d00r speaks with Grendel the Really Old

He sent me into The Forest of Evil, where I said hello to the friendly broom-mounted witches & yeeted myself into a mysterious dark portal.

I know, I know. My mother always sternly warned me “don’t go yeeting yourself into mysterious portals, young lady!”, but to be honest, the only thing those words of advice did was make me curious about what was on the other side of these enigmatic gateways:

d00r at The Path of Glittering Crystal

As it turns out, it’s just more Grendel. How’d he get in here? Get outta here, old man!

d00r vs. Grendel!!

Luckily, Grendel really is just a feeble old coot, & all of his attacks miss me. So much for being a powerful wizard or whatever.

Robeira seemed really impressed that I beat the shit out of that old man, & I think I saw her smile a little, but I can’t be sure. In any case, there was one other test that she had for me: go up on top of a big snowy mountain & talk to a rock.

d00r at the Holy Stone

Wow. This rock is big, & it is pointy. I tried beating this thing up too, but instead I got quizzed about snails or something. I’m no malacologist, but I cheated a bit by peering over the shoulder of the guy next to me who was also taking the exam.

When I got back to Robeira, she told me that I’d passed the test. All of my answers were wrong, but the questions weren’t real questions anyway; it was just a setup to see if I would copy someone else’s answers. Cheating pays!

In any case, now that I had thoroughly demonstrated my ability to beat up the elderly & commit academically dishonest acts, I was finally eligible to ✨ascend✨ to the rank of priest!!!:

d00r is a priest(let)!!!

WOWOWOWOWOWOW cool. d00r door soon…?

[snorts]

s(n)orts. Gock (Harlez). Bug rock.

EPQing with Gock (stage 2)

R. timorensis

Are you prepared for some 🔥epic boss battles🔥 with my darksterity knight rusa?!? Yes?!?!? Ok. Here’s some more NMM duoing that I did with marksman xBowtjuhNL (PriestjuhNL, BuccjuhNL):

rusa & xBowtjuhNL duoing NMM

It was here that I learned The Hard Way™ that NMM is actually capable of dealing up to ≈7.5k damage (after reductions) to me, without its big red claw attack that deals like a bajillion damage[1]. I’ve been running under a slightly weaker assumption — that it can only hit me for a bit more than ≈7k — for quite a while now, certainly ever since this boss was last revamped. So… how did I only learn this now? By randomly focking dying‽

Well, it seems that NMM only rarely uses this attack, & it probably only deals up to ≈7.5k to me if NMM is somehow empowered (which doesn’t appear to be a visible buff, as on my screen at least, NMM never has any icons above its head — but maybe that’s a bug, I dunno); plus, this attack in particular is difficult to pick out, as its animation is so subtle that NMM just looks like it’s standing there & not doing much. So I was literally just operating this entire time, without ever dying — until now — under the false assumption that the damage numbers that I was seeing were representative of the damage that I could possibly take.

This is a failure of induction, & one of the core problems for a dark knight player: you generally don’t know how much damage you can possibly take, until you actually take it! Of course, in principle, this isn’t necessarily true; if you assume the absence of bugs, & know all the computationally-relevant facts — the formulæ being used, the stats (WATK, MATK, damage type, elemental affinity, …) of every attack that the monster can possibly use, the monster’s level, all of your character’s relevant stats (WDEF, MDEF, STR, DEX, INT, LUK, level, skills, …), etc. — then you could just, you know, calculate exact numbers. But in reality, the player almost never has access to much of this information.

Luckily for me, we were only planning on doing one run anyway. And don’t worry, I didn’t die on the retry. 😅

In other NT1 news, I got back into doing some more Burger Mothing with shadower Harlez (Gock)!:

rusa & Harlez duoing Bergamot

O, Pink Bean…!

And, of course, I have continued to run the ol’ Peanut Butter Pink Bean as hosted by xBowtjuhNL & Milky (Nonon)! During one such run, we started losing bishops. The sad reality of PB is that you are, apparently, virtually guaranteed to get at least one or two people d/cing midway through the run — really, typically midway through just the statues phase…

In any case, the result was that my party had to be sacrificed to Muninn (right birb)[2]; we had no bishop, no Holy Shield, & thus got to experience the great fun of being seduced for a continuous 30 seconds(!!) whilst all (yes, all) statues were still alive. With the power of level 30 Achilles & a handful of well-placed “MISS”es, I managed to survive a full 29⁢ s like this! But only 29!! And then god damn died at the last second!!! If you wanna see what this chaos looks like, & sounds like — including voice chat — then you can watch this little (but not quite little enough to stuff directly into my diary…) 33-second clip on the Oddjobs YouTube™ channel:

📺 i can survive 29 seconds of continuous sed, but not 30… [YouTube™]

Speaking of dying to sed during PB, sometimes PB’s main body likes to face left (uh-oh!) & cast a li’l cheeky genesis to kill a few Maplers who’ve just been seduced & 1⧸1’d…:

It’s raining headstones… 🪦🪦🪦🪦

O, rusa…

Back in the “O, Horntail…!” section of pt. xc of this diary, I wrote at some length about some miserable experiences that I had with HT. I had failed myself on multiple counts, and as a result, I felt like such worthless garbage that I basically just stopped logging in for a week or so, & even after coming back to the game to APQ or whatever, I felt more or less constantly ashamed of myself — worried, even, that the people whom I ran into were thinking ill of me.

I don’t really wish to retread this general topic in detail — if you like, go back & read “O, Horntail…!”. But I’ve had similar experiences since then, including with one of my PB runs. Apparently, my expectations for myself are too high, or at the least, I’m too hard on myself when I fail to meet them. I consider quitting, asking to forfeit my splits on runs where I don’t like how I performed, & I can never ever truly forgive myself when I fuck up (even slightly) something that’s directly related to protecting my party members from danger.

When playing rusa, I strive ever to hold my expectations for myself to the absolute height which reason permits. Certainly, death in general is eschewed — even when it’s not actually fatal per se. But more importantly, I loathe to ever make anyone feel like they cannot — or are even particularly inconvenienced to — rely on me (or any DK, for that matter) as a party member & as a protector (sed target role included). Still, if I’m truly upset at what is, ultimately, merely ordinary gameplay, then presumably I have only my own lack of emotional self-regulation to blame.

So, thanks. Not only to the far more successful (on my own terms) PB run that I had the following week, but also to the people who have helped me by reassuring me when my self-confidence reserves have been depleted. If you’re reading this, then you already know who you are.


🧡


Footnotes for “R. timorensis

  1. [↑] Actually more like a bit over 16k damage to me, tops.
  2. [↑] See footnote #11 of the « La dragonne sombre » section of pt. cviii of this diary for more on the names of the PB statues.

53

Unfortunately for fans of the series, we’ll have to wait until the next diary entry to see more card-hunting with our favourite Stabby McStabgirl alces the daggerlord.

Nonetheless, I’ve been doing lots of Lat duos with STRginner Taima (Tacgnol, Yunchang, Boymoder, Girlmoder)! Just like previously, we are 💨speedrunning💨 these Lat fights so that we can finish before the HS (120⁢ s duration) that we got in the FM runs out.

As yet, this is basically the only activity that alces does outside of card-hunting… But hey, it’s actually not half bad EXP! Sure, Lat is like two dozen levels below me now, but…

alces hits level 125~!!

WHEW!! One hundred & twenty-five. That’s Technically™ high enough level to get EXP normally at 7 F! Please… doesn’t anyone want to 7 F with a dagger-wielding NL who does poopoo damage with an unholy admixture of SW, Venom, Double Stab, & Taunt…?

Santa Claus’s favourite R. tarandus

Ahoy! It’s time for a Maplemas-themed edition of Questin’ With tara™!

Their wishlist, I missed; I insist, you must assist

First up is the Santa’s Helper Needs Help questline. Christmas is coming, & Santa is still missing the wishlists of quite a few denizens of the Maple World. Santa’s Helper needs help gathering this information so that she knows what presents to get for everyone, and she’s delegated the task of individually asking each & every person for a wishlist… to me.

First up was Victoria Island, where I joined forces with MiIf (GiIf, Dakota) to collect the wishlists of folx such as good ol’ Pia:

Collecting Pia’s letter to Santa

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

MiIf: piaa

[system message]: You collected Pia’s letter for Santa.

Second up was the combined Aqua Road, El Nath Mountains, & Orbis region, where we swam to collect the wishlists of folx such as Nanuke & her huskies:

Collecting Nanuke’s letter to Santa

Transcription of the chatlog in the above image

MiIf: OK OK now um nanuke
in the icy whale

[system message]: You collected Nanuke’s letter for Santa.

Third up was Lūdus Lake, where I collected the wishlists of folx such as Gina! And finally, the rather unusual combination of Mu Lung Garden & the Nihal Desert, where I collected the wishlists of folx such as Le Petit Prince.

⁧חנוכייה⁩

My goodness, that was a lot of travelling.

In the “Ex mātrimōniō” section of pt. cix of this diary, I looked into the history of Gelt Chocolate, including its real-life historico-cultural roots, its etymology, & its inclusion in retail versions of MapleStory. In the process, I learned of the existence of, & about, the Festival of Lights questline. Well guess what? This MapleLegends event brings the GMS-exclusive Festival of Lights back!! So I got to mfing do it on tara!! And like five of my other characters lmao!!!

True to the original, “Building the Altar” is the first quest in the line, & requires 25 Altar Pieces. Hannah makes it pretty clear that these Altar Pieces only drop from the various Stump species, or possibly only from Axe Stumps/Dark Axe Stumps. So I headed to Perion’s East Rocky Mountains to farm these golden candleholden:

tarandus finds an Altar Piece

Unlike the original, however, “Blessing the Festival” doesn’t ask the player to farm the Sabbath Candles from Horny Mushrooms; instead, they’re claimed to drop from all monster species. So I figured, why not light two candles with one match by also farming Thai monke ETC items (Banana Peels & Monkey Dolls) at the same time?:

tara finds a Sabbath Candle

Later, I realised that the NPC dialogue of the first quest had been tricking me. I guess whoever adapted this questline to MapleLegends forgot to change the text, because the Altar Pieces actually drop from all monster species as well. Oups!

In any case, each full completion of the questline allows the player to choose between a reward of two Gelt Chocolates or two Banana Graham Pies (+120 MATK for 10 minutes). Since the questline is repeatable up to eight times per PC for the entire event, that’s like… 16 Gelts! Per character!! 😈

Encyclopædīa Sānctus Nīcolāī

But the Festival of Lights questline is not the only quest in this event that has people collecting ETC items from any monsters in the Maple World. You see, the writers at the Maple Herald newspaper want to run a piece about this “Santa Claus” fellow that everyone seems to be talking about, but good information on the figure is scant. Excepting, of course, a six-part encyclopædia called Santa Encyclopedia

It’s my job to recover books of this encyclopædia from the monsters of the Maple World, but there’s just one problem: they stack up to one (1) per inventory slot! MuleStory™ strikes again!! Oh well…

tara finds a Santa Encyclopædia

These items are readable if you double-click on them. I’m not sure if these were translated from another language, or were just written in poor English to begin with. In any case, I’ll save you the trouble of reading all of them by summarising their contents:

Book № 1: The various origins of the legendary Santa Claus

Santa keeps a diary, in which he tells of having a recurring dream. In the dream, he has followers who call him “Odin[1]. In Germany, they call him “Saint Nicolas”.[2] And in the Netherlands, “SinterKlass[3]. This book ends with (ellipsis in the original):

BTW, my dream always ends with Director of Sales, Johnson appearing, and…

Book № 2: Mrs. Claus

Santa Claus meets a woman in Finland who is quite poor, & is keeping her family afloat by working in a sock factory. Santa marries her, & she becomes Mrs. Claus.

Book № 3: Only if the stocking fits

Santa is picky about what kinds of socks work as stockings, so that presents will fit without falling out or bursting the sock. Two components are required to make standard socks, one of which is a “Qualified Knitting Ball” that can be obtained from NooNoo the snowman.

Book № 4: Johnson?

“S.Y Johnson” is Director of Sales of the Maple Herald, & the only person who is acquainted with Santa.

This book also contains generic info about who Santa Claus is.

Book № 5: Santa knows when you’ve been naughty or nice

Do good deeds if you want a present from Santa! Also, remember to be… famous…?:

The more fame as you have increased, the better present you will get from Santa Claus.

Book № 6: Santa is Finnish

Santa Claus lives in Rovaniemi, although his postal address is given as:

Santa Claus’ Main Post Office,
96930 Napapiiri[4], Finland

Wow. Fascinating.

Anyway, each time that you turn in a full set of the six books (limited to a maximum of seven times per PC per week), you get some modest rewards:

Santa Encyclopædia quest rewards

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: You have gained items (20 Gingerbread Man Cookie)
You have gained experience (+30000)
You have gained fame (+1)
You have gained 5 Christmas Presents. [130 total]

(A Gingerbread Man Cookie is an untradeable USE item that heals 3 000 HP.)

Although it’s largely worthless for many players, I actually kinda like the rewards here. The EXP is honestly very good for low-ish-level PCs (below level ≈50 or so?), the cookies similarly help out new players somewhat, & I like that the rewards are a bit diverse: four different kinds of rewards, all at once.

Versalia

Now, I’ve done the Maplemas–Versalmas quests before… but not on tara! Because there was no event last year, tara is actually too much of a little baby character to know what Christmas even is.

So I get her a Maplemas Hat:

tara gets the Maplemas Hat

Yeah, yeah, I know. Versalmas is great & all, but I’m a reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), not a green rat (Rattus spp., etc.). I need them antlers.

Elpam Gorlab apparently didn’t get the memo about me not being a rat, because he gifted me a cheese wheel anyway…:

Elpam Gorlab has a cheesy gift

Transcription of the above NPC dialogue window

Elpam Gorlab: Please, take this to celebrate the 30 Days of Delight! I’m sorry it’s not the kind made by the famous Versalian fragrancier, Dr. Ssiws, but it does the trick!

REWARD!!: Melting Cheese 1

Boss toss

That concludes this very merry episode of Questin’ With tara™. But that’s not all the taranding that I’ve in store for you. It’s time to punch some bosses & shit. With my bare hands.

Like this pair of Zakky-wakkies that I did with coarse hair Lvl1Crook (Level1Crook, xXCrookXx), buy shop MiIf (GiIf, Dakota), & shadow her Harlez (Gock, VigiI, Murhata)!:

tara hits level 159~!

Woah, level 159~!

You might be wondering what’s up with the black rectangles in the above image. You see, unfortunately, in order to fill our Zaqqūm party, we had to resort to 😨recruiting randoms😨. Worse yet, we got even more than we bargained for with this particular fellow. For obvious reasons, I won’t describe any of it in detail, but I will say that I went & screenshotted all of our chatlogs just in case we wanted to collectively report this person for sexual harassment.

I also have a feeling that if I called this particular individual out publicly, they would probably just think that it’s funny or something. Everyone in the party made their discomfort clear, and I can say that I personally was very uncomfortable & prepared to @gm this shithead.

But whatever. Don’t worry, there are no more randoms for the rest of this diary entry…

Which brings me to some fun Rābananaing that I did with Lvl1Crook, Harlez, & Taima (Tacgnol, Yunchang, Boymoder, Girlmoder)!:

Harlez, Taima, Lvl1Crook, & tarandus vs. Rābanananana

Plus, Taima, Lvl1Crook, & I took bishlet AppleBasket (OrangeFungus, LawdHeComin, Snel) on a pair of Purple Letters runs so that he could get that handy-dandy Papulatus Certificate:

AppleBasket, Taima, tarandus, & Lvl1Crook vs. Pappy Lattice (body 1)

And then there was Qurrecksselling[5]. Lots of it.

Like these trio Krexels that I did with Harlez & xBowtjuhNL (BuccjuhNL, PriestjuhNL):

tara, xBowtjuhNL, & Harlez trio Kreckselle

As you can see, xBowtjuhNL was also dual-clienting on BuccjuhNL for EXP (as xBowtjuhNL is level 200), which mostly just meant an extra source of TL, since I was rendering his SI obsolete. Or maybe my SI was rendered obsolete by his… I guess we’ll never know……

Later, I actually just did some duoing with Harlez:

tara & Harlez duoing Krex

Luckily, I’m pretty stocked up on strong WATK pots these days.

And for some more trio runs, we were joined by Taima!:

tara, Harlez, & Taima trioing Krex

You should also check out Taima’s blogpost on the same subject!: Krexel in 2024. It’s kinda like what you see above, but with horrible, horrible graphical glitches, & much more humour. Plus, some commentary on her quest for permabeginner endgame gear.

Oh, yeah. And this was the same Krex where I hit the big level 160~!!:

tara hits level 160~!!

✨Woah!✨

I wasn’t the only one hitting big-number levels, though. I did a few duo Rāvvypappies with Taima, where she hit level 139~!:

Taima hits level 139~!!

And finally, I cobbled together some Χmas looks for tara with the random crap that I bought with the absolutely way too many Christmas Presents that she has:

tara’s Χmas looks

So… what do you think? Scarf? Balloon? Red boots? Little silver anklet? Vote on your phones now! I just wish that the boots weren’t quite so bright red…

Footnotes for “Santa Claus’s favourite R. tarandus

  1. [↑] ON Óðinn /ˈoːðinː/. Remember how, in the “The abominable snowman” section above, I mentioned that the process of Christianising the Germanic peoples included the Germanic winter festival Yule getting syncretised with Christmas? This is that.
  2. [↑] It’s unclear to me why they single out Germany here. You’d hope for at least a mention of Weihnachtsmann? Pelzmärtel…?
  3. [↑] Weird corruption of Dutch Sinterklaas /ˌsɪntərˈkläːs/, based on Saint Nicholas. English Santa Claus /ˈsæn.tə klɔz/ is, by the way, borrowed from this Dutch word.
  4. [↑] Finnish napapiiri /ˈnɑpɑˌpiːri/ “polar circle”.
  5. [↑] /ˈkɹɛk.s(ə)lˌɪŋ/…?

(…cnvpstdf…)

cnvpstdf

CIA man

Transcription of the above image

[system message]: ⟨Alliance⟩ CIAMAN has reached Lv.30.

Qubbler: grats!

Lvl1Crook: grats!

CIAMAN: thanks

Lvl1Crook: at what level can you start destabilizing foreign governments?

CIAMAN: well if someone could get me some bananas I could start now

Tacgnol takes on tier II of the HP Challenges

Transcription of the above image

Tacgnol [whisper]: sorry for complaining out loud, i just think this is
possibly as funny as it is sad?
another in Big Fish Valley
surely this can’t be my fault somehow
look at it your dumb bird!

[whisper to Tacgnol]: LMAOO
well i’ll tell you i didnt know there were clickable thingies
in any of these locations

Tacgnol [whisper]: if i may ask
is this what i’m supposed to look for? random clickable spots?

[whisper to Tacgnol]: basically yes, it[’]s invisible [NPCs] just like
the lost coins one

Tacgnol [whisper]: wow
im gonna fucking stab

And finally, a message from Cortical (Subcortical, NewCharacter, Medulla, GishGallop, Phoneme, BowerStrike, CokeZeroPill):

Transcription of the above audio

Cortical: Join Oddjobs.